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YouTube is making it easier to track how much time you spend watching videos

Large tech companies like Google and Apple are slowly but surely realizing that people are addicted to their phones — and that it’s not a good thing. Both are rolling out features aimed specifically at helping people track how much time they spend on their devices — and Google’s latest effort to help people track their usage comes in the form of a new “Time Watched” section in the YouTube app, as well as integration with Android’s Digital Wellbeing feature.

In the Time Watched section of the YouTube app, which is available on both the Android and iOS versions of the app, you can see how long you’ve spent watching videos that particular day, the day before, and the previous 7 days. You’ll also get a daily average. The stats aren’t just derived from time spent watching videos on mobile either — any time you watch YouTube videos and are signed in to your Google account, it’ll count towards the stats. YouTube Music and YouTube TV, however, are not included.

“Our goal is to provide a better understanding of time spent on YouTube, so you can make informed decisions about how you want YouTube to best fit into your life,” said Google in its blog post.

To find the Time Watched menu in the YouTube app, simply head to the Account menu by tapping on your profile picture in the top right-hand corner. Then hit the Time Watched option, and you should be able to see your stats. Google is also promising that Digital Wellbeing on Android, which is currently on beta, will be able to deep link to Time Watched on the YouTube app. At the bottom of Time Watched, you’ll also get shortcuts to other aspects of Digital Wellbeing.

Within the Time Watched section, you’ll get more than just statistics. You’ll also be able to get tools to be able to manage how long you spend watching videos. For example, you can tell the YouTube app to remind you to take a break from watching videos, and you can set when that reminder should kick in. You can also turn off autoplay features, and tell YouTube to send all notifications in one daily digest, instead of when they become available.

It’s nice to see the likes of Google and Apple releasing features for those that feel they spend too much time on their devices, but only time will tell if these features actually make an impact on user habits.

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Christian de Looper
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